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    06 S7 NEWS 14 S7 TALK 18 OH ANTRON,








    54 REVIEWS


    58 S7 GEAR 61 S7 LIFE

  • T im B is k u p sALPHABEAST:

    QALUB [email protected] r b r k k

    "Calli [email protected] by Tim Biskup - San Diego Comic-Con 2006, High Five Exclusivew w w .tim biskup.com

    [email protected] & 2001-2006 MEDICOM TOY CORPORATION. A ll rights reserved. 2006 TIM BISKUP. A ll rights reserved.



    Super7 Magazine, Volume 4 Issue 2 - June 2006

    PublisherBrian Flynn / [email protected] Super7 Media, Inc. / San Francisco, CA

    EditorJustin Kovalsky / [email protected]

    DesignBrian Flynn / Geoff Allen / Caleb Kozlowski / Darlene Gibson Hybrid Design, Inc. / www.hybrid-design.com

    N ational Ad Sales / S ta ff W riterChad Hensley / [email protected]

    Retail D irectorsKaren Stanley (store) / [email protected] Isaac Ramos (web) / [email protected]

    Gracious Contributors & Special ThanksKen Kelly, Hiddy o f Secret Base, Oka Narue of Medicom, Takeshi Sakamoto,Dave Waugh, Tim Brisko, Hirosuke Nishiyama o f Balzac, Isaac Ramos, GOE of Evilegend 13, Sam Flores, Jeremy Fish, Sun-Min Kim, Hiro Hayashi, Roger Harkavy, Neil O'Rourke, Mark Gradwell, Kaminaga-san o f Marusan, John Cafiero o f Osaka Popstar, Ray Fong, Matthew Porter, Martin Harris, August Ragone, Mark Kollecker, Liz Russell, Rob Arevalo, Devon Morf, Jeremy Whiteaker, Western Addiction, Buckethead, Frank Kozik, Denise and Omar o f Ningyoushi, Chad the dog,Susan, Suzi Nuti, Bwana Spoons and John Patterson of Media Blasters.

    US DistributionTower Books, Diamond Comics, Ingrams Periodicals,Retail Vision and Last Gasp

    Japanese D istributionPresspop, Inc. / www.presspop.com

    O ther In ternational D [email protected]

    PrintingTranscontinental Printing / LGM Graphicsattn: Mike Bradley 1.800.661.0052 x24 Printed in Canada.

    Editorial / [email protected]

    Contact / Goodie BoxesSuper7 Magazine540 Delancey St., Suite 303, San Francisco, CA 94107415.227.4700 / www.super7magazine.com

    Retail LocationSuper7 Store1630 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115415.409.4700 / www.super7store.com

    LegalThe advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or other persons affiliated with this publication. All rights to the photographs, artwork and articles contained in this publication are copyright owned by their respective creators. All rights to any character names and/or likenesses are copyright owned by their respective owners, and no assumption o f ownership is made by this publication. Everything else contained herein is 2006 Super7 Media, Inc. and may not be reproduced in part or whole w ithout written permission from Super 7 Media Inc. as well as any contributors if applicable. In the end,Super7 is a magazine about toys; keep it light.


    They say th a t luck is no th ing m ore than the m om ent th a t o p p o rtu n ity meets

    p repara tion . W hile I'm usually the last person to em brace such a seem ingly u n rom an tic view, a fte r w o rk in g on o u r lucky 13th issue o f Super7,

    I'm inc lined to agree.

    It was th is issue's cover s to ry on m aster a rtis t Ken Kelly's M icronauts pa in tings

    w r it te n by Dave W augh th a t led me to be lieve th a t perseverance is really the key in g re d ie n t in g o o d luck. As yo u 'll learn in th e a rtic le , one o f Kelly's

    m aste rp ieces, a s tunn ing re n d e rin g o f th e p o p u la r M icronau ts character

    nam ed A n tron , was com m iss ioned in the late '70s b u t w ent m issing fo r nearly

    30 years. Recently, it was u nea rthed and saved from ro ttin g in a basem ent

    in New York. A nd g e t th is. The pa in ting 's value can be es tim ated at around

    25,000 dolla rs! W h ile many w ou ld say it was pure luck tha t the a rt was located

    after all those years, it never w ould have never been found w ithou t the relentless focus (OK, some may call i t obsession. You say tom atoes...) o f our very own

    co n trib u to r Dave W augh and the d ie -hard M icronaut fan base. In trigued? Just

    w ait until you read the story and take in Kelly's Antron fo r yourself. You'll be glad th a t W augh never le t his c h ild h oo d m em ory o f th is go rgeous pa in ting fade.

    W hen you th in k a b o u t it, it's th ro u g h a s im ila r so rt o f d e te rm in a tion th a t we

    achieve th e th ing s in life th a t are w o rth achiev ing w he th e r its f in d in g an ex trem e ly rare to y a fte r years o f search ing, n u rtu rin g lasting friendsh ips or

    f in d in g an en joyab le career. There 's no th in g lucky a b o u t those th ings. We create them s im ply by ca ring a b o u t them fo r th e long haul.

    Justin Kovalsky

    Editor, Super7

    mailto:[email protected]:[email protected]://www.hybrid-design.commailto:[email protected]:[email protected]://www.presspop.commailto:[email protected]:[email protected]://www.super7magazine.comhttp://www.super7store.com

  • 06 v 3




    C ontenders beware. There's a new vinyl fig h t figure in tow n. Brian Flynn, Super7 publisher and co-principa l o f Hybrid Design in San Francisco, has created another

    Japanese-style fig h t figure. Produced by popu lar toy brand Secret Base in Tokyo and nam ed the Frankenghost, Flynn's figure is only the second Secret Base toy

    in h is to ry d es igned co m p le te ly by an Am erican the firs t was the Skull Pirate

    crea ted by le g e n da ry u nd e rg rou n d a rtis t Pushead. (Flynn also des igned the

    head scu lp t fo r the p o p u la r Secret Base toy, the G hos tfigh te r, back in 2005.)

    A va ilab le exc lus ive ly a t Super7, the Frankenghost w ill d e b u t on Ju ly 23, 2006

    at San D iego C om ic-C on. Flynn ta lks character cu ltu re and design insp iration.

    S7: W hat is it about the Frankenstein character th a t lends itself so well to your new toy design? Brian Flynn: Many o f Secret Base's toys are filled w ith re ferences to o ld e r toys from A stro -m u, Henshin Cyborgs, King W alders, C ocoba t Joe and very lite ra lly the Fink-Shit. W hen it came tim e to design this

    figure , I w an ted to re ference a v in tage to y as well, b u t I w anted it to have an "Am erican" influence. These references em body the deep co llector-geek love

    and passion we have fo r the toys. You d o n 't have to g e t the reference to love

    the toy, b u t if you do, it g ives it another level o f dep th . I co llected Universal

    M onster toys fo r years, so it was really a no-bra iner.

    Still, there's more happening than just a super-deformed take on Frankenstein.I w anted F rankenghost to have a certa in charm. I like the cam py 60s m onsters

    th a t have a g reat sense o f horror and fun at the same tim e - Rat Fink, W eird-Oh's,

    the M unsters, Addam s Family, N utty -M ads, etc. I th ink you can still have really

    gross o r scary th ings th a t have hum anity and persona lity. For exam ple, a ghost

    can be scared o f certa in th ings. A m onste r can love candy and have a history o f

    cavities. The tin ie s t m onste r can bu lly a g iant. Those kinds o f p layfu l nuances

    are endearing a bo u t characters and are necessary in my opin ion .

    Please te ll us about the Frankenghost's back story. There are a m illion stories a bo u t Frankenstein alive, b u t the Frankenghost s ta rts where the others le ft off.

    In the o rig ina l m ovie, a t the end, Frankenstein is tra p p e d in th e castle as the

    v illagers burn it dow n. This is the g hos t o f Frankenstein, the sp irit o f the m onster

    a fte r th a t m om ent. Even his b oo ts are sp irits c law ing and chom p ing th e ir way

    around the ring.

    W hat was the process like creating the Frankenghost as opposed to the Super7xSecret Base G hostfighter collaboration? Was there much exchange betw een you and the ow ner o f Secret Base, H iddy? I g o t invo lved w ith Secret Base when we began w ork ing to g e th e r on the G hostfigh ter. I was a fan

    be fo re tha t, and o rig ina lly we discussed the p oss ib ility o f d o in g a reco lo r o f

    the Skull Brain, b u t I dec ided to g e t a b it b o ld e r and asked if I could do a head

    scu lp t instead fo r Super7. H iddy was exc ited abo u t the co llabora tion from day

    one, and the G h o s tfig h te r head was the firs t sketch I sent him. I d id abo u t 40

    sketches firs t, and then p icked th a t one to send to him. From there, a scu lp tor

    nam ed Betch c ra fte d the head, and nailed it firs t try . I had no changes at all.In h ind sight, a fte r seeing the final pulls from the m old , I w ou ld have m ade the

    cracks on the head longer, b u t he d id a g rea t job . For the Frankenghost figure,I sent a lo t m ore p re lim inary ideas and options, and Frankenghost was the one

    H iddy really reacted to . There w ere qu ite a few m ore we considered, b u t tha t was the character th a t won the figh t. So, how else do you becom e a fig h t figure?

    You have to w in figh ts !

    Speaking of scrapping, have you and Hiddy discussed how the Frankenghost will f it into the larger Secret Base fighting fam ily tree? When H iddy and I s ta rted to discuss the new figure I w an ted to make, he w anted to make very sure th a t it fe ll in to the Secret Base w orld ... He w an ted to make sure it was a figh te r at heart. In his previous toys he was very litera l w ith th is [inco rpo ra ting ] boxing

    gloves and fig h tin g uniform s, b u t I w anted the new figure to be a b it m ore o f a re luc tan t fighter. The unde rdog o r m isunderstood fig h te r com ing from ou t o f the shadows th a t stands up fo r o thers when no one else w ill.

  • SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMESSUPER7'S EVIL GHOSTFIGHTER THINKS LOVE SUCKSHere to b a ttle the forces o f love th a t m anifested in th e prev iously released Super7 Valentines Day and W h ite Day

    G hostfigh te rs , the dasta rd ly d o p p e lg a n g e r known as th e Evil G h o s tfig h te r h it the s tree ts May 13th. Translucent yellow

    vinyl, w ith red and black h igh ligh ts and a red "X " m arking his arm, the G h o s tfig h te r is back and he's look ing fo r a fight.

    H ope fu lly you m anaged to snag one o f these angry appa ritions be fo re they d isappeared in to the darkness. If you

    m issed out, be on the look o u t fo r the u ltra lucky 13th G h o s tfig h te r to be released soon at super7store.com !

    BURNING DOWN THE HOUSESUPER7x MARUSAN GIANT MELTDOWN GODZILLABased on the success o f the in itia l release o f the Marusan giant-size 15" G odzilla

    g lo w -in -th e -d a rk v inyl in Hawaii g reen spray o r Hawaii b lue spray at last year's

    San D iego C om ic-C on , Super7 now p resen ts the fina l inca rna tion o f o u r favo rite

    fire -b re a th in g m onster. C ast again in g lo w vinyl, th is M e ltdo w n spray va ria tion in

    shades o f orange and red, takes its visual cues from th e h igh ly sough t a fte r Bandai

    M e ltdow n vinyl toys based on G odzilla vs. D estroyah. L im ited to only 50 pieces, th is

    fig u re w ill makes it's d e b u t a t San D iego C om ic-C on 2006. W ith the orig ina l tw o

    versions se lling o u t in only days, e xpe c t th a t th is figure w ill b ring the house dow n.

    ITS MODELESOUE WITH YMSFREVIEW BY SUPER COLLECTOR LEON STEELEMy m other always says, " I f you d o n 't have anyth ing nice to say, d o n 't say anyth ing

    at a ll." W h ile I take her adv ice to hea rt, th e YMSF G odz illa line tu g s me bo th

    ways. Let's s ta rt w ith the goo d . A nd when I say g oo d , I mean great: the sculpts. The YMSF sculpts are phenom enal. I can 't th ink o f ano ther G odzilla vinyl th a t can

    stand on only tw o fe e t w ith the ta il suspended in th e air w hile s till m ain ta in ing such keen deta il. But w hat YMSF earns po in ts fo r in accuracy, they lose a ltog e th e r

    in functiona lity . Though sold as vinyl toys, these figures are m ore like p re -pa in ted

    vinyl m ode l kits w ith very lim ited posing op tions . These new e d itions are vastly im proved over some o f the o ld e r figures YMSF's earlier M egalon com es to

    m ind th a t had p rob lem s even standing, so kudos to the com pany fo r s tepp ing

    up th e ir game. Just d o n 't expect a toy. E xpect a sta tic, g rea t look ing m odel

    th a t has some bonus m ovem ent. If you can d ig tha t, you w ill be p leased w ith

    YMSF's new line.

  • 08 v ,3


    HEDORAN TO THE HILLSGARGAMEL HITS WITH NEW FLYING HEDORAN AND BAKOBASOIm agine these tw o cu te -b u t-m en a c in g m onsters to w erin g 50 fe e t above your

    hom e ben t on haplessly tra m p lin g c iv ilization . Spooked? W ell fea r not. The only

    th ing tha t these tw o crazy kaiju are go ing to crash is your toy co llection, and judg ing

    by these early photos, th a t w ou ld be n o th ing b u t nice. B rough t to us by the Japanese to y com pany, G argam el, the new 9 " fly ing H edoran scu lp t (le ft) pays

    hom age to the o rig ina l fly ing IKB H edoran to y from the 1970s. W e canno t w a it

    to see the pa in t on th is am azing scu lp t. On the righ t, th e 9 " Bakobaso w ith clear

    vinyl chest and bone inse rt is sure to please kaiju co lle c to rs w ith an eye fo r deta il.

    These tw o toys represen t ano the r amazing show ing from Gargam el.

    SEEING IS BELIEVINGBWANA SPOONS X SUPER 7 - STEVEN THE BAT PROTOTYPE FINALLY ON U.S. SHORESIt's been a long tim e com ing, b u t Steven the Bat is finally here! W ell, he's a lm ost

    here. (Sigh.) As many o f o u r readers know, Steven the Bat is a rid icu lous ly cool

    cha rac te r to y crea ted by Bwana Spoons th a t was schedu led fo r release from

    Super7 in late in 2005. A fte r several m onths o f fa c to ry delays, we finally have a

    pa in ted p ro to ty p e o f th is 5" vinyl fig u re and we are o ffic ia lly excited... again.

    O nce the final p ro d u c tio n runs arrive, Steven w ill be available in five varia tions

    Fig Belly (Shown here in green w ith eyes closed. This is the sleepy-eyed Super7

    exclusive version. There w ill also be a version w ith open eyes.), Black Metal is

    My G od (black), Purple N igh ts (black and purp le ) and Candy Corn (orange and

    ye llow ). To fu rth e r w he t the a pp e tite , check o u t Spoons' lov ing ly illustra ted

    packag ing (designed by Super7's Brian Flynn) in which Steven hangs upside down.

    Keep checking super7store.com fo r updates because the day o f the Bat is nigh!

    SMOKED SQUIDFRANK KOZIKS KAIJU VINYLS FROM WONDERWALLPopular a rtis t Frank Kozik, m ost fam ous in the des igner to y w o rld fo r his icon ic Sm okin ' R abb it character, has team ed up w ith Japanese to y com pany W onde rw a ll to co n tr ib u te to th e ir upcom ing vinyl kaiju series. Kozik expla ins tha t

    "W o nd e rw a ll's idea fo r the line was to d iv id e th e w o rld in to m onste r te rrito rie s . I w an ted to do the oceans and what

    I created was Ika-Gilas, th e Dem on Squ id ."

    Ika-G ilas is a 5-inch vinyl and com es b agged w ith header card. C o lo r ways o f the m onste r inc lude trans lucen t clear,

    trans lucen t purp le , translucen t g reen, and an upcom ing opaque version. The opaque e d ition o f the to y w ill be available in the U nited States at K id ro b o t and in very lim ite d qua n titie s in Japan. Kozik w ill sell the c lear vinyl versions himself,

    inc lud ing 50 p ieces th a t he 'll have on hand fo r his appearance at th is year's San D iego C om ic-C on. Each co lo r way o f Ika-G ilas w ill be lim ite d to 100 pieces and w ill re ta il fo r $100 each.

  • DRESSED TO IMPRESSSAM FLORES FATIMALadies and gen tlem en w e're p roud to p resent Fatima. G ive her a b ig hand. O r a

    pair o f them to be m ore exact. Unmistakably the lineage o f Sam Flores, this e legant

    w aif is his second foray into vinyl and the firs t in a series o f co llaborations between

    N ingyoush i and U ppe r Playground.

    She's an am biguous beauty. Sorrow. Serenity. Resignation. It's hard to p inpo in t

    her exact state o f m ind, because in essence she's all the above and more. Sam

    explains: "In my work, Fatima represents d iffe rent emotions in each painting. She's

    so rt o f w ithdraw n and closed o ff from her surroundings. I see a lo t o f beautifu l

    th ings in th is w orld , bu t so many peop le are ob liv ious to everyth ing tha t's around

    them . They jus t need to open th e ir eyes a little m ore and look up fo r once."

    There are four versions available, tw o o f which - the pink and the yellow - feature

    ra ther fe tch ing floral headdresses, a nod to the rich flora th a t populates much o f

    Sam's recent work. M eanwhile the green and gray o ffe r more naturally flow ing hair.

    Be warned though, though the green and pink are editions o f 450, there are only 54

    o f the ye llow and gray. The ye llow is an uppe rp layg round .com exclusive and the gray w ill appear a t samflores.com. So ge t in quick. Judg ing by the current prices

    o f his T ig e r Babies, th e secondary m arket w o n 't be nearly as p re tty as Fatima.

    EASY DOES ITTHE TURTLECAMPER BY JEREMY FISHAh, the open road. There's no th ing like h ittin g the h ighway w ith o u t a care in the

    w orld and n obody knows it b e tte r than San Francisco-based a rt star, Jerem y Fish.

    Mr. Fish also seems to embrace another o ld cliche that the journey is best enjoyed

    slowly. Very slowly. Inside o f a g iant skull and a strap-on camper... o f course! Jeremy

    is one o f the most imaginative artists w orking today and this new toy produced by

    US toy d is tr ib u to r StrangeCo is evidence. The Turtle cam per is lim ite d to 1000

    to ta l pieces and w ill release th is June. In a dd itio n to the s tandard co lo r way (500

    pieces), tw o o the r varia tions are fo rth co m in g the silver skull e d itio n (lim ited to

    350 pieces) and gold skull ed ition (lim ited to 150 pieces). Also, be sure to check out

    Jeremy's new Nike shoe in th is issue's fashion section.

    ARACHNIDS AND CONFECTIONSSUN-MIN KIMS SPIDER BOOM QEEThe newest figure in Toy2R's 8-inch Q ee A rtis t Series com es from none o the r than Sun-Min Kim, one half o f the dynam ic duo beh ind those o h -so -p o pu la r plush toys, Ugly Dolls. For her Qee, Kim chose Toy2R's Toyer as her p la tfo rm , a Qee

    w ith the head o f a supe r-de fo rm ed skull. But it's n o t ju s t any o ld skull. This spooky-cu te th ree -eyed th ing is actua lly designed to look like the ske leton o f one o f Kim's o rig ina l characters nam ed S p ider Boom.

    "S p id e r Boom eats cake. Lots o f cake," she says laughingly. S p ider Boom began life in an illustra ted sto ry th a t Kim

    created fo r her husband and Ugly Dolls co llabora to r, David H orvath, and the character has now spun o ff in to toys. Kim

    says th a t Toy2R has the exclusive to y license fo r her odd b a ll arachnid in 2006 and th a t " th is Q ee is jus t the beg inn ing ." The 8-inch Sp ider Boom Q ee also com es packed w ith a 2-inch Sun-M in Kim Q ee keychain based on the a rtis t herself.


    *13 11


    Plush Skull BrainSecret Base has created p illow s in all sizes, b u t recently the com pany released

    a so ft version o f an ex is ting character, the Skull Brain. The firs t version o f th is

    lit tle cutie was created in black, red and w hite fe lt w ith a irb rush ing on the brain

    area. There's even a lit t le string com ing o u t o f the to p o f the brain so you can

    hang it from your rearview m irror! This release was sold as a set w ith a m atch ing

    vinyl Skull Brain. Shortly a fte r the set was released, a fu ll co lo r version, purp le

    and black Skull Brain plush was re leased all by itse lf. E very th ing a b o u t th is

    deform ed com ic version o f the already classic Skull Brain is amazing, especially

    the m ini header card.

    Obake DogG et ready fo r some serious nerd deba tes over th is release from Secret Base

    the Obake Dog! Some say it is an ugly m u tt th a t needs to be pu t to sleep, while

    others w ant to take the dog hom e and co lle c t all its varia tions. Love it o r hate

    it, it is still the newest o rig ina l to y from Secret Base. Fans w ere teased w ith the appearance o f a small Obake Dog logo on the back o f the Plush Skull Brain set.

    The p o p -o u t eye and bandaged M ad B a ll-sty le head is lo ts b ig g e r and m ore

    de ta ile d than the heads on the M ad Ball M antis, much c loser to the size o f

    orig ina l M ad Balls. (Secret Base crea to r H iddy is a co lle c to r o f o ld US Mad Ball

    toys.) The de ta ile d design o f the head lends itse lf to many pa in t options, while

    the b od y is m ega s im ple w ith never be fo re seen tiny bub b le fingers and what

    look like Snoopy's fee t. Obake D og is a strange clash o f ideas; perhaps we will

    see th is b od y used w ith several d if fe re n t heads in the fu tu re o r fab ric c lo th ing

    to cover the sim ple body. W e will have to w a it see w hat is next fo r O bake Dog.

    V alentine's Day and W hite Day M antis and U nderw ear SetsIt is a special tim e o f year w hen we ce leb ra te o u r loved ones. H ope fu lly your

    special one co llec ts Secret Base jus t like you! On Valentines Day in Japan a

    gray vinyl w ith p ink spray Skull 2 M antis & M ad M antis set was released. The set

    inc luded a pa ir o f men's underwear, one to y and it was packaged in a small can

    th a t said "H ouse o f Toys." The M ad M antis looks especia lly cool w ith the w hite

    pa in t around the face. On W h ite Day (3 /14/06) a p ink vinyl w ith gray spray Skull 2 M antis & M ad M antis set released. This tim e the set consisted o f wom en's

    underw ear and one to y packed in a so ft pouch p rin te d w ith a g litte ry Secret

    Base logo. The com bina tion o f underw ear and toys is p e rfe c t tw o necessary

    item s in your life. M ix and match a pair o r co lle c t them all.

    THE HORROR IS CLEARBALZAC'S RAREST SKULLMAN TOY EVERAs many Super7 readers know, the Super7 s ta ff loves the Japanese band Balzac, as proven by our

    exclusive orange Balzac figure from last issue. In an a tte m p t to make th e ir p rom o tiona l toys coo le r than darn near everyth ing else in the universe, Balzac has ju s t re leased a set o f five c lear Skullman

    figures w ith clear vinyl bags th a t f it over the toys w o n d e rfu lly creepy heads. V isually a rresting in

    five d iffe ren t co lo r ways, there's a catch to acquiring these cool fellas; you have to spend 100,000 yen

    (about 900 US dollars) at Balzac's c lo th ing bou tique called Shocker in Osaka, Japan jus t to ge t one

    single co lo r varia tion . The horro r in acqu iring a sing le figure , much less an entire set, b ogg les the

    m ind. To ease your pain, however, fee l free to check o u t Balzac's w o rld w id e mail o rd e r s ite at

    evilegend13.com /shockerworldw ide where you can score all sorts o f cool band re lated merchandise

    inc lud ing some amazing toys jus t n o t these babies.

    LOOKING FOR A CUREBEWARE THE TERRORNThe Tokyo-based shop Cure has jus t released its newest fig u re the Terror'n. A laugh ing pum pkin-head in a robe w ith a haunted Santa hat and a ray gun tucked beh ind it's back, th is toy may be one o f the m ost surreal mash-up figures

    we have ever seen. In itia lly released in trans lucen t o range or pu rp le vinyl co lo r ways, you never know w hat the guys

    at Cure w ill com e up w ith next.

  • CHANGE IS GOODYAMATO TOYS LICENSES MEGAZONE 23 GARLANDIn 1985, the boo m in g hom e v ideo m arket in Japan ushered in the era o f the O rig ina l An im ation

    V ideo (OAV), d ire c t-to -v id e o anim e th a t d id n 't have to fo llo w the tim e and co n te n t constra in ts

    o f b roadcast TV shows. This, com bined w ith the exp los ion o f transfo rm ing ro bo ts on TV and

    on to y sto re shelves, p rov id e d fe r tile g round fo r an OAV like M egazone 23.

    M egazone 23 had a recipe fo r success: character and mecha designs by p rom inen t industry

    veterans, so lid p ro d u c tio n values, and a s trong dose o f m e tapho r abo u t the econom ic bubb le

    Japan was en joy ing at the tim e . It m ade enough m oney to spawn tw o sequels, and was also

    b rie fly licensed by Harm ony G o ld to be rew orked in to the unreleased R obotech: The Movie.

    U nfortunate ly, M egazone 23 w asn 't as successful in a ttra c tin g a m ajor sponsor to p roduce toys

    and models, and aside from a few garage k it releases, the ro b o t designs never g o t much exposure

    in 3-D. Now, a fter 20 years, Yamato is appeasing fans o f the anime by releasing a 1/12 scale version

    o f the Garland, the sto len m ilita ry ro b o t th a t ends up in the hands o f hero Shogo Yahagi.

    Yamato's Garland stands rough ly 9.5" ta ll in ro b o t m ode and features m agnetized jo in ts tha t aid

    in the transform ation to m otorcyc le m ode, real rubbe r tires, and a 4.75" figure o f Shogo. As w ith

    the ir previous VOTOMS and Macross o fferings, expect Yamato's usual extrem e atten tion to detail.

    The Garland is be ing o ffe re d by Yamato USA at a suggested price o f $129.95, and is scheduled

    fo r release in June. For m ore deta ils see yam atotoysusa.com .

    GET REALSUPER7X REAL HEAD EXCLUSIVE SETO f the many Japanese v inyl m icro -com pan ies th a t have e m erged recently, Real Head is

    one o f the ho ttes t and m ost adored by Japanese and Am erican co llectors. Naturally, it was

    jus t a m a tte r o f tim e be fo re Super7 te am ed up w ith Real Head c re a to r M ori-san fo r a to y

    release. In Super7's s ignature co lo rs, th is c lear o range vinyl set w ill h it th is sum m er at the

    Super7 store in San Francisco. P ictured here from le f t to r ig h t are the Real Head x Super7

    M utan t Evil, M u tan t Bigaro, M u tan t Head and M u ta n t Chaos fig u re s all fo u r heroes from

    M ori-san 's Real Head universe! W e 're keep ing the release dates a secret, b u t we can te ll

    you tha t the toys w ill be d rop p e d one at a tim e over the period o f a m onth. Keep checking

    super7store.com fo r updates.

    KENTUCKY FRIED COSMOSSUPER7 X CHICKEN FEVEREven the m ost ex trem e alien consp iracy th e o ris ts d o n 't e xpe c t extra terrestria ls to com e in th e guise o f pou ltry . But th e y 've p rob a b ly never discussed the m atte r

    w ith the to y makers at S in+W om bat, th e Japanese com pany th a t b rings us the Chicken Fever toy. M ade as exclusives fo r the Super7 Store in San Francisco, this

    b lack vinyl to y w ith o range and w h ite spray was released on A p ril 29th; an orange

    version w ith black and s ilver spray was also re leased on May 27th. L im ited to 50 pieces o f each co lo r way, these aliens are ready to invade any and all co llections.


    \ 7 .

  • MONSTER FACTORYPATIENCE YOUNG JEDIFor all the d ie -ha rd v in tage vinyl co llec to rs o u t there , I was ab le to watch, b u t n o t purchase, the hyper rare red and blue

    spray antler on Yahoo auctions recently. This is the exact same figure shown in the Saito d igest toy books, which so many o f us Brian Flynn was b orn in the m ids t o f a hurricane . ,, . . , . . . , i r r >

    know so well. It is always excitmq to see these tiqures p op up, even thouqh I know my chances o t ever owninq any ot them in 1875. A fte r s p e n d in g h is fo rm a tive years un- 7 3 , , ,

    , . i i i _] . . . are a lm ost non-ex is ten t. So, in a ro un d -a bo u t way, when Mr. Saito q o t in touch w ith us a fte r seeinq issue 12 o f Super7,derach ievm g a t va rious tasks, he d e c id e d the z/ rw o rld was n o t ready fo r his fo rw a rd th in k in g we w ere shocked to find o u t th a t we had a few toys even he d id no t have. N o t w an ting to p a rt w ith o u r Barom-1 kaiju,v is io n o f th e fu tu re a n d was c ry o g e n ic a lly Mr. Saito still m anaged to g e t an A rgen tin ian Peguira fig u re from th e Super7 Store th a t he had n o t been able to find.fro zen u n t il 1994. A f te r re a w a k e n in g , B rian It is hard to believe, tha t co llecting fo r as long as som eone like Mr. Saito has, tha t there are still pieces which are frustra ting lyh it the s tre e ts , a nd d e c id e d th a t ru lin g th e una tta inab le fo r every level o f co llector.u n ive rse th ro u g h th e h id d e n m y s tic ism o f

    a rca ne S ta r W ars re fe re n c e s , b in a ry p u ls a r -p}-,js b r jngs me to my larger po in t. I have been co llec ting Japanese vinyl figures fo r 15 years now, and I can list hundredsra d io e m iss io n p a tte rn s , v in ta g e Ja pa ne se 0 f f jg ures th a t I am still look ing for. It seems th a t so many co llec to rs I run in to these days are frus tra ted by the lack o f vinyls a nd C o ca-C o la was th e o n ly way to g o . . . . . . . . , , . ,. . . . . . , r , , . r ,,

    availability , im m ediacy or p rice o t many o t the tiqures th a t they are look inq tor. U ntortunate ly , th is qenre o t co llec tinq He is th e p u b lis h e r a n d o w n e r o f S uper7 7 . 7 3

    . . , , .i l l . is no t as easy as many others, where stock is so m uch m ore prevalent. For exam ple, i f you w an t an o ld com ic book likemagazine, a world -c lass d e s ig n e r a nd a h igh - J J ~ r Jle ve l toy c o lle c to r X -M en #1, a b lue S nagg le too th from Star Wars, o r a Topps M ickey M antle, s im ply go to ebay and the re are p len ty to be

    found - as long as you are w illing to pay the price. Japanese toys, especia lly desirab le toys, are always in short supply.

    W hen these rare toys d o show up, co llec to rs are w illing to break the bank try in g to acquire them . So, my advice to the new ly frus tra ted co lle c to r is, be pa tien t. It to o k me 15 years to acquire one o f the tw o to p toys on my w ant list, and

    never a long the way was I o ffe red a single one. The o the r to p to y on my lis t I am still look ing for.

    A n o th e r co un te rp o in t is the g lo w -in -the -dark unpa in ted G hostfigh te r. I have had several peo p le com pla in to me abou t how d if f ic u lt th is fig u re is to find to fin ish th e ir G h o s tfig h te r co lle c tio n . To c la rify com ple te ly , the re are on ly 33 g low

    G hostfigh te rs in existence. They were p rom o tiona l (not fo r sale) g if ts in Japan from Secret Base, and only a handful o f them m ade it over the w ater to the states. W ith the m a jo rity o f them still resid ing in Japanese co llections, and 10 o r less

    stateside, to le t the hunt fo r a g low G hostfigh te r ruin your co llection is do ing yourse lf a disservice. The fac t o f the m atter

    is, many o f us w ill p rob a b ly n o t be able to own one, s im ply because the re are far m ore co llecto rs than the re are figures.

    Those o f you th a t do w an t one, and keep up the hunt, may eventua lly find one, but, much like my to p wants, it may take a few years to d o so. The th ing is, when you finally d o find one it w ill be th a t much sweeter, and th a t much more enjoyable

    along the way. D on 't let th is hobby sour you, enjoy the ride, and focus on w hat you do have, because tom orrow there will

    be som eone s tru g g lin g to find the toys you already o w n - ju s t like me, and jus t like Mr. Saito. To share my frustra tions, p ic tu re d above, are a few o f the gem s I have had the m is fo rtune o f no t g e ttin g lately.

    01. Red A n tle r w ith b lue, ye llo w and green spray courtesy o f Yahoo Japan. 02. Kamen R ider Amazon GT car with box.

    03. Tigermask's car o f choice. Very stylish. 04. Large Yonezawa Inazuman Cycle w ith box. 05. Large Barom-1 car still in the box! Curse you Groove5020! 06. Sun faded Hawaii Gorosaurus; close bu t no cigar. 07. Oh man, ju s t looking at that Doublas M2 is hard to do. 08. A ll o f the large figures in the G iant R obot family.

  • HOUSE OF SECRETSHANGING WITH HIDDYThough it can g e t really manic running Secret Base, it's always g rea t when friends d ro p by the shop in Tokyo. Recently,

    I hung ou t w ith my g oo d friend Ussun w ho is now w ork ing at Three T ides Tattoo in Osaka my hom etow n! (1) Ussun

    b rought w ith him a super ta len ted a rtis t from the US named Mike G iant. G iant is a very nice guy and he's becom e popu lar

    w ith ta tto o peop le in Japan. I b o u g h t th is cool sw eatsh irt from G iant's San Francisco-based fashion label, Rebel8. (2)

    It goes really well w ith the den im Nikes th a t I p icked up. (3) I do love Nikes, however, I also th ink these Ad idas Q ee

    toys are qu ite cool. (4) A n o th e r toy tha t's caught my eye lately is the Cure x CCP H edorah amazing! (5) W hen I'm not

    w orking on toys o r checking o u t new releases, I like to read com ics like O ne Piece. (6) The tin ie s t deta ils in th is manga are captiva ting and the universe th a t au thor Eichiro O da creates is so e labora te and com ical. I th ink th is t it le is p u t ou t

    in the US by Viz C om m unications if you 'd like to try it fo r yourself. O f course, I also like lis ten ing to music like the US

    punk rock band Zebrahead. (7) This is th e ir la test CD released in Japan. Sooner o r later though , I always end up back at

    Secret Base headquarters to create new toys. Here are jus t a few o f o u r latest releases: the SB Obake D og plush and the new Balzac plush in various styles. (8) I w anted to make som eth ing th a t peop le could always have w ith them instead o f

    the normal showcase vinyl toys th a t I make! These were actually des igned by an a rtis t nam ed Hilo. A nd finally, I'd like to

    introduce the b rand-new Secret Base vinyl toy, the O bake D og! (9) I hope th a t you enjoy it!

    V.13 1 5

    H id d y is the o w n e r a nd d r iv in g force o f Japan's

    p re m ie r b o u tiq u e to y com pany, S ecre t Base.

    Secret Base has b ee n p ro d u c in g som e o f the

    m o st inven tive five -inch v iny l toys on the p la n e t

    a nd the re 's no e n d in s ight. In each issue o f

    Super7. H id d y w ill b e s h a rin g h is th o u g h ts

    w ith his ra p id ly g ro w in g le g io n o f US fans.


  • 16 v13


    Take-shit is th e c re a to r a nd bass p la y e r fo r the

    Japanese h ardco re b a n d C ocoba t, as w e ll as

    a c o lu m n is t fo r W a rp Japan a nd C o o l Trans

    m agaz ine . H e 's n o to r io u s ly a d d ic te d to a ll

    th in g s H e n s h in C y b o rg , M ic ro m a n a n d

    D evilm an a nd his toy c o lle c tio n is so insane

    i t w o u ld m ake yo u w eep . H e has a lso b ee n

    in vo lved in th e c rea tion o f m any toys o v e r the

    years in c lu d in g th e h ig h ly in flue n tia l Fink-Shit

    figure, M edicom 's Cocobat Joe, Microman-style,

    M ic ro -S h it toys a nd B [email protected] rbricks.

    GARBAGE DIGGERBEHIND THE MASKIn the 1970s, many so ft vinyl hero toys had human faces h idden under th e ir masks w he ther it was T iger Mask's

    a lte r ego N aoto Date o r Kamen R ider's secret iden tity , Takeshi H ongou. Bullmark also released the U ltraman Kyodai

    (known in th e US as th e U ltra Brothers) w ith s o ft rem ovab le masks. Many assume th a t Bullm ark 's figures faces are exactly alike fo r any p a rticu la r toy. But, if you look closely, every figure has d iffe re n t characteristics. Even the s ligh test

    d iffe re nce in the pa in t on th e eyes can change the to y 's overa ll aes the tic th is is why th a t many co llec to rs say tha t the life o f the to y is in the eyes. Bullm ark also created a carded fig u re w ith five d iffe re n t masks in b r ig h t colors,

    w hich is very hard to find.

    The firs t rem ovab le mask to y was p ro b a b ly M arusan's U ltra 7 p en d a n t crea ted in 1967. W hen U ltram an Taro h it

    Japanese theaters, the U ltram an Family toys w ere m ore in the s p o tlig h t than the kaiju characters from the film .It was because o f the success o f the U ltraman Family toys th a t m ore and m ore heroes were produced around th is time.

    Later, Ultra Taro, Ultra Haha (Mother) and Ultra Chichi (Father) were made not w ith removable masks, but w ith revolving headpieces. W hen you 'd spin the to p o f the character's he lm et the toy 's face w ou ld change from human to hero form !

    This is considered an ingen ious design by many so ft vinyl a fic ionados and it is one o f my favo rite to y g im m icks. It's also in te res ting to note th a t the U ltra Haha is conside red by m ost experts to be the best fem ale scu lp t o f the 1970s.

  • v.13 17

    Though y o u m ay n o t b e fa m ilia r w ith th e nam e

    Oka Narue, when you hea r the lis t o f Japanese

    toys th a t th is d is t in g u is h e d g e n tle m a n has

    m ade you w ill u n d o u b te d ly flip . W hether he's

    c rank ing o u t obscu re v inyl toys fo r Take-shit's

    p un k b a n d C o cob a t o r new G len D anzig figures,

    Oka fills h is days to ilin g away as a to y p ro d u ce r

    fo r M e d icom Toy co m p an y in Japan. O h yeah,

    he's a lso th e in v e n to r o f a lit t le toy line ca lled

    Kubricks. M aybe y o u 've h ea rd o f it.


    NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUNDPOSI-TRACTION TIN CARIn th is insta llm ent, I'd like to ta lk a bo u t th e P osi-traction Tin Car the second to y th a t I he lped make fo r Take-shit's

    band C ocobat. The p ro d u c t was released from Zaap!, the com pany th a t I w orked fo r back in 1998. W e to o k p re -o rde rs

    fo r the to y while we created it jus t like we d id fo r C ocoba t's firs t toy, the C ocoba t Joe. A t firs t, I had no idea how to tu rn Pushead's a rtw ork fo r C ocoba t's a lbum Posi-traction in to a toy, b u t the idea to o k shape when we came across a

    tin m anufacturer ca lled Ichiko at a toy show. Today, when I make a to y w ith Pushead o r Take-shit, se lecting materia ls

    and go ing th rough the process is easy, b u t back then every th ing was so unclear. It was like we w ere s tum b ling around

    in the dark. So, I still fee l d eep ly th a t the p ro d u c t tu rn e d o u t w ell, even when I look at it now. For the black and w hite

    version, we m ade on ly 300 p ieces exclusive ly fo r W arp magazine. Soon, Take-shit to ld us th a t th a t he really w an ted to

    d o ano ther version o f the car using an idea th a t he had th e Fink-Shit. But I w ill leave th a t s to ry t ill nex t tim e . The

    co lo r packaging shown here was designed by Seven Stars in Japan (the same s tud io th a t des igned B ounty Hunter's

    logo). I've also shown the mail o rd e r box.

  • W hile the com bination o f art and toys is a revolutionary concept fo r media mavens

    and tre n d seekers, m aster pa in te r Ken Kelly has a ppa ren tly never perce ived

    a d iv is ion be tw een these tw o w orlds. O r at least th a t seems true when one

    considers Kelly's w ork on one o f the m ost p o p u la r and successful to y lines

    o f the '70s and '80s the M icronauts.

    A lthough Kelly is m ost fam ous fo r his w ork on KISS record covers (D estroyer and

    Love Gun) and fo r his fabu lous fantasy pa in tings d e p ic tin g Conan, Vam pirella,

    Darth Vader and more, Kelly's M icronauts pa in tings represent a tru ly amazing

    b od y o f work. C om m issioned by toy co rpo ra tion M ego in the '70s to p roduce

    package a rt fo r th e ir firs t line o f o rig ina l M icronauts figures fo r th e US m arket

    ca lled the Aliens, Ken faced an iron ica lly tita n ic task.

    As many Super7 readers know, the M icronauts began as an im po rte d Japanese

    p ro p e rty (Takara's M icrom an line) th a t was repackaged and renam ed fo r sale in

    Am erica. Spurred by M ego 's desire to branch o u t from the p re-ex is ting Takara

    p ro d u c ts w ith b rand new characters, th e b izarre A liens fe a tu re d shocking ,

    g lo w -in -th e -d a rk bra ins and in te rch a n ge a b le w ea p o n ry th a t m ade them an

    ins tan t h it w ith ch ild ren . Today, th e y are h igh ly so u g h t a fte r by M icronau ts

    co llecto rs across the g lobe .

    W hen Kelly firs t received the call from M ego in 1978 a bo u t the o p p o rtu n ity to pa in t the A liens packaging, he'd been c ra ftin g cover pa in tings fo r C reepy and

    Eerie magazines as well as p roduc ing w ork fo r KISS. The designs tha t M ego had

    in m ind fo r the line w ere r ig h t up Ken's a lley fan tastica l and larger than life.

    Ken recalls, "They w anted me to make th is 4 -inch p iece o f p lastic look like a

    30-foot-ta ll, living breathing menace. I said, tha t's cool. I can do tha t." Obviously,

    Kelly achieved the desired e ffe c t and m ore, p roduc ing some o f the m ost brea th tak ing pa in tings th a t toy afic ionados have ever laid eyes upon.


  • wm


    2 2 v '3

    The firs t tw o paintings that were com ple ted took Ken approxim ately 2 to 3 weeks.

    "The A n tro n and the H orn e tro id w ere th e firs t [in th a t o rde r]. "K e lly recalls.

    C onsidered by many to be the best o f the batch, A n tron was pa in ted by Kelly

    and handed over d ire c tly to M ego fo u n de r M arty Abram s only to d isappear

    e n tire ly from the pub lic realm fo r a lm ost 30 years. O n ly recently, the A n tron

    pa in ting has resurfaced. But m ore on th a t in a m om ent...

    M eanwhile, back in the 7 0 s , p rod u c tio n continued as the M icronauts Aliens

    were released in tw o d iffe ren t waves. The firs t series o f toys was mass-produced

    fo r the US m arket, w hile the next w ou ld be unde r-p roduced and sold largely

    in Italy. The rem ain ing six pa in tings in the A liens series w ere com ple ted at a

    furious pace and created under the high stress o f corporate deadlines. "Suddenly,

    M ego said 'H ey! We need six o f them . N ow .' You cou ld a lm ost see it in the

    p a in tings like an assem bly line th ing . A nd tha t's n o t the way you w ant to do

    this stuff, bu t hey, tha t's what the call was and I stepped up. Those all happened

    a w eek apart. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," says Kelly. The pain tings tha t

    Kelly speaks o f w ere o f Repto, M em bros, the Terraphant vehic le and the 2nd

    series C entaurus, Lobros and Kronos figures. They w ere o il on canvas and

    each were a bo u t 30 " by 34".

    Top row: These o rig ina l M icronauts

    toys are from the co llec tion o f au thor

    Dave Waugh. Each o f the figures and

    vehicles are in th e ir o rig ina l packag ing

    which has been au tographed by

    Ken Kelly.

    B ottom row from le ft to righ t: Kelly's

    rough sketch fo r the H orne tro id is

    enough to send m ost a rt students into

    the dregs o f depression. Next, check

    o u t these cool Italian M icronauts figures

    also s igned by Kelly. I M icronauti, baby!

    Finally, d o n 't fo rg e t o ld Repto from

    the US M ego line, o r he 'll use his saw

    hand to break in to y o u r hom e and

    steal yo u r toys.


  • The idea to switch from the pho tog ra ph ic sty le box a rt prev iously used fo r

    the M icronauts to co lo rfu l fantasy a rtw ork was b rillia n t and it f it well w ith the

    organic design o f th e Aliens. A lth o ug h M ego w en t o u t o f business shortly a fte r

    the release o f these toys fo r unre la ted reasons, the legacy o f th is o rig ina l line

    and Kelly's pa in tings lives on in the hearts o f today 's co llecto rs. In fac t, the

    very pa in tings them selves actua lly reside w ith one o f today 's to p M icronauts

    co llectors, Rumel Tom iam pos.

    A fte r the orig ina l pa in tings were pho tog raphed fo r the p roduction cycle, M ego

    re turned all o f the A liens a rtw ork to Kelly excep t fo r the oh-so-e lus ive An tron .

    Ken, in turn, so ld these works to p riva te buyers. The pain tings sh ifte d hands

    a coup le o f tim es over the years until they fina lly fe ll in to the capable care o f hardcore M ic ron a u tfa n and a rt lover Tom iam pos.

    Tom iam pos viv id ly rem em bers the day th a t ano the r o ld -schoo l to y co llec to r

    to ld him som eone had the orig ina l M em bros a rt fo r sale. He says, "I th ink it

    was selling fo r around $1,850. I contac ted the se ller and to ld her if her in itia l

    deal fe ll th rough (there was ano ther in te res ted buyer), I w ou ld be w illing to

    purchase it. The se lle r e -m a iled me back and to ld me th a t if I was w illin g

    to pay th a t p rice th a t she w ou ld le t me have it." Tom iam pos continues,

    "This person had purchased the pa in tings from Ken Kelly when he was still an

    upcom ing artis t. A fte r she agreed to sell me the M em bros, I asked her if she

    ow ned any o f the o th e r M icronau t pa in tings. She in fo rm ed me th a t she owned

    seven o f the orig ina l e ig h t pieces, b u t really d id n 't w ant to sell anymore o f them, the Terraphant be ing her favo rite ."

    Eventually, she d id break dow n and le t them go. This dea ler's on ly wish was

    th a t the p a in tings w ou ld g o to a g o o d hom e and th a t they 'd remain in a set;

    o f course Tam iam pos has d isp la yed these treasures w ith all the p rid e o f a b rand -new parent. " I f I ever w ou ld cons ide r se lling them ," he says assuredly,

    "I w ou ld on ly sell them as a set and to a g o o d hom e too . I've had an o ffe r as

    h igh as $70,000, b u t d o n 't w an t to p a rt w ith them . If the Sm ithsonian or the

    M useum o f A r t in D.C w an ted them , I w o u ld m ost like ly d on a te them so

    th a t everyone cou ld en joy th e m ." Tam iam pos has also generously len t the

    pa in tings to be p ho tog ra ph e d fo r the 2002 Hero Factory M icronauts card set.

    Still, even w ith all seven o f the m asterpieces in one place, the A n tron pa in ting

    was now here to be found . Just w here in the w o rld was the very firs t and o ft

    cons ide red best p a in tings in Kelly 's series? The answer, it seems, was to be

    fo u n d in the darkest d ep ths o f the A bram s fam ily home.

  • Left: W ith obvious brawn and brains,

    M em bros was one o f the m ore pop u la r

    M icronauts characters thanks in no

    sm all p a rt to Kelly's k ille r rendering.

    R ight: The painstaking de ta il in the

    Kronos pa in ting makes th is m antis

    dressed in a p ink leo ta rd look much

    m ore m enacing than he should.


    v . ,3 27

    Left: The lost M icronauts painting. A fte r

    be ing bu rie d d ee p in a basem ent fo r

    decades, Ken Kelly's A n tron still looks

    phenom enal. As th is was the firs t th a t Kelly pain ted in the series, the precision

    and d e ta il is unm atched by any o f the

    M icronaut pain tings.


    " I f I c o u ld n 't be Trum p's kid born in to m oney," Ken A bram s quips, "a t least

    I was born in to the M icronau ts." A bram s is the son o f M arty Abram s, the

    fo u n de r o f M ego toys. Ken Kelly's prize A n tro n pa in ting used to hang in young

    A bram s' b ed room when he was a boy. It rem ained the re as the centerp iece o f

    his liv ing qua rte rs surrounded by Led Zeppelin and S pringsteen posters until

    he le ft hom e to a tte n d co llege in 1984. However, even fo r the Abram s, A ntron

    to o becam e a fa ded m em ory.

    Until 2002, th a t is, when the Palisades Retro Series o f M icronauts was released. A card set fea tu ring the seven o rig ina l Kelly pa in tings was created, from which

    the A n tron was conspicuously missing. A fte r several fa iled a ttem pts at acquiring

    a p ho tog ra ph o f the pa in ting from M arty A bram s him self, it was th o u g h t tha t

    the pa in ting was lost forever. Then, in 2004 at M egoC on in NYC, a convention

    d e d ica te d to e ve ry th in g M ego , th e e n tire A b ram s ' clan was in a ttendance .

    This was the chance to set the record s tra igh t on the w hereabouts o f one o f

    Kelly's keenest sci-fi pain tings.

    Your hum ble author asked Ken d irec tly what happened to the painting that hung

    in his b ed ro o m as a ch ild . He re d ire c te d the q ue s tio n to his m o th e r who responded w ith the fo llo w in g sta tem ent, "I th ink I th rew th a t ugly th ing o u t." Immediately, hundreds o f d ie-hard M icronauts and Ken Kelly fans' hearts dropped

    deep into the ir bellies as a collective gasp seemed to resound across the universe.

    Ken A bram s q u ick ly ca lm ed th e p o te n tia lly rio tous c row d w ith these w ords: "There 's no way M a rty le t her th ro w th a t th in g o u t. N o way, no how, is th a t th in g in the garbage ." Ken soon to o k it upon h im se lf to scavenge the o ld

    A bram s househo ld th a t very w eekend. A fte r his fo u rth a tte m p t a t rum m aging th ro u gh th e basem ent, he found the m issing pa in ting tucked betw een a few

    fram ed fam ily p a in tings and bu rie d d ee p in a craw l space. The m ystery was

    fina lly so lved, to the d e lig h t o f a m u ltitu d e o f M icronau ts devotees. Today, it seems th a t the A bram s w ill never again le t A n tron o u t o f th e ir view; the piece

    now hangs h igh above M arty A bram s desk in his personal o ffice in New York.

    So please, en joy th is p ho to g ra p h o f l it t le o l' A n tron . This is the firs t tim e he's

    ever been in a m agazine and he's appa rently m ade q u ite a jou rney to be here.

  • Left: Repto is one tough looking

    alien, b u t n o t nearly as tough as

    Ken Kelly is fo r having p a in te d him

    in less than seven days. Kelly says,

    'That's w hat the (job ca lled for) and

    I s tepped up." Huzzah!

    Right: G e tty up, Centaurus. Kelly's

    m asterfu l rend ition o f th is hybrid

    horse alien som ehow makes the

    actual Centaurus toy seem a touch

    less than majestic.

  • ROCK THE VOTOMSMILITARY MECHA MAYHEMBy Roger H arkavy /P ho tog ra phy by G eoff A llen

    In the early 1980s, the mecha anime revolution was in full swing. Giant heroic robots

    w ith swords and sam ura i-styled helm ets w ere fad ing away, being replaced by faceless, gun-w ie ld ing m ilita ry machines. Leading the charge were shows like

    Macross, Xabungle, Srungle, and Dunbine. Arm ored Trooper VOTOMS, ye t another ro b o t series w ith a nonsensical b u t coo l-sound ing name, continued the trend

    tow ard a greater degree o f "realism " in ro b o t anime.

    VOTOMS is actually an acronym fo r Vertical One-man Tank fo r Offense and Maneuver

    System. Most likely, the name was coined because it sounded cool, and the meanings

    fo r the le tte rs were assigned afterwards. VO TO M S'contribution to the ro bo t toy

    w orld , though, is unquestionable.

    "VOTOM S was deve loped based on the success o f the Dougram series, which was

    largely due to the sales o f the plastic m odels, and (had the goal o f making robots) even m ore realistic," according to Asahina Yoshikazu, a p rod u c t designer at Takara

    during the 1980s. Dougram ended its run on TV in early 1983, bu t in late 1982 Takara

    was already developing VOTOMS to fill the void. Based on his success handling the D ougram anime, Ryosuke Takahashi was hired as the new series' producer, and

    Dougram mechanical designer Kunio Okawara was recruited to create the robots.

    Takahashi's vision fo r the robo ts o f A rm ored Trooper VOTOMS was d iffe ren t this

    tim e. The robots, o r A rm ored Troopers, were go ing to be small com pared to the ir contem poraries, s tanding just under fo u r meters, and they were going to be

    versatile. He envisioned robo ts b a ttlin g in space, in the desert, in swamps. They were also going to be com ple te ly de-rom anticized. Drawing on his experience

    grow ing up in postw ar Japan, where husks o f ravaged Jeeps could be found

    nearly everywhere, he im agined a fu tu re where a ro bo t vehicle was simply a tool

    tha t was used and discarded.


    Takara wanted th e ir VOTOMS toys to match the anime designs exactly, in some cases even dup licating the actual mechanisms the robo ts used in the show. They

    also wanted to fo llow the form ula behind Dougram 's success: the toys w ou ld be

    marketed towards m odel builders who wanted to create the ir own special versions

    o f the robo ts they saw on TV. Takahashi's idea o f a m ass-produced ro b o t w ith

    optional parts fo r every occasion f it well w ith this plan.

    The MacGyver-like ingenuity o f the show's protagonist, Chirico Cuvie, also helped

    the m arketing mission along. C hirico, a rogue so ld ie r from the d readed Red Shoulder squad, spent m ost o f the early ep isodes fig h tin g his enem ies using

    robo ts he rebu ilt from discarded ones in junkyards. Chirico's yen fo r customizing a ro bo t, abandon ing it, and then s ta rtin g anew w ith ano the r salvaged one

    m irro red w hat Takara w an ted from th e ir consum ers buy one ro b o t, fix it up the way you w ant, and then buy ano the r to custom ize a d if fe re n t way.

    Unfortunately, Takara wasn't as enthusiastic abou t com m itting the ir resources this

    time around. A much smaller budget was allocated for the show, and out o f necessity, Takahashi designed the show in four "stages." Like the d iffe rent acts o f a play, each

    stage o f the show would take place in a specific locale, making it easy fo r animators

    to reuse backgrounds and o the r animation elements. This m odular aspect to the story line also m ade it easy to end the show in case it was cancelled before the

    52-episode mark, the p o in t a t which an anime series was deem ed successful. Despite the sole sponsor's cold feet, VOTOMS m ade it. F ifty-tw o episodes aired

    between A p ril 1,1983 and March 23,1984. The toys and m odels sold, bu t d id n 't

    h it the level o f success tha t Takara had previously experienced. "I d o n 't th ink they ever reached the popu larity o f the Dougram toys," Yoshikazu says. He notes that

    the m ode l kits d id n 't sell as well as the Dougram kits, either.

    Like the Dougram toys before them , VOTOMS toys were made in 3 scales: 3" 1/60 figures, 5" 1/35 "Joint M odels" and 7 " 1/24 "Dual Models." Again, names like Joint

    Model and Dual Model were employed to convey the idea that these weren't simply

    toys, but model kits to be customized. Okawara was also commissioned to do a series o f illustrations fo r the boxes, and while his artwork wasn't displayed prom inently on

    some items in the toy line, many collectors consider the huge Okawara painting on

    the Dual M ode l Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog box to be a true work o f toy art.

    The 1/60 series o f figures featured a high m etal content, making fo r seven solid

    bu t som ewhat less poseable pieces. Despite the ir small size, the designers managed to work a high level o f deta il into them , including th ings like removable hip,

    knee, and fo o t armor, "m ud skis" on the aquatic robots, and flip -up visors. O u t of

    the seven 1/60 figures, two versions o f the Scopedog, the ubiquitous "grunt" mecha, w ere inc luded , as well as som e m ore exotic designs like the D iv ing Beetle and Berserga. The 1/60 packaging also features a strange defin ition fo r VOTOMS: Very

    Obnoxious Tagger's Out-of-sight Murder Service, which is definitely the p roduct o f an overambitious graphic artist rather than a reference to anything in the TV show. The 1/35 Jo in t M odels were oddities because they were com pletely devoid o f any

  • Left page : W ith ope n ing cockpits ,

    rifles w ith rem ovab le parts and a

    p le tho ra o f pos in g possib ilities, the

    1/24 scale D ual M ode ls showcased

    Takara's toy eng ineering brilliance.

    R ight page : Though these 1/35 Jo in t

    M odels by Takara lacked d ie-cast

    parts, co llecto rs loved them fo r the ir

    extrem ely custom izable nature.

    large metal pieces. This shortcom ing was more than com pensated fo r by the Jo in t

    Models' highly customizable nature. Both toys came with many optional weapon and

    arm or pieces tha t could be c lipped on to create d iffe re n t variants o f the mecha.

    The Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog came w ith a standard backpack as well as

    the full suite o f spring-loaded weapons th a t Chirico used in early episodes o f the

    show. The Snapping Turtle could be o u tfitte d w ith arm or to create a Space Assault

    version, com plete w ith a m issile-firing bazooka.

    The 1/24 Dual M odels were prim e examples o f Takara's excellent toy engineering,

    featuring open ing cockpits, the ab ility to assume a kneeling pose (known as the

    "down fo rm ") to pick up the pilot, ro tating scopes, rifles w ith removable clips, and numerous metal parts. The Scopedog, m olded in d rab m ilitary green, included a

    standard-issue backpack w ith extra ammo clips. Takara's second o ffe ring in this

    series, the Brutishdog, a customized salmon-pink version o f the Scopedog, featured a g a ttlin g cannon/c law com bo th a t rep laced the r ig h t hand and a specialized

    backpack. The H oly Grail o f th is to y series fo r co llec to rs , the Red S houlder Custom Scopedog, shared the co lo r scheme o f the standard Scopedog, w ith the

    notable exception o f one shoulder painted b lood red. In add ition to the standard

    Scopedog equipm ent, the Red Shoulder also included Chirico's weapons suite

    and a special "Round M over" je t pack fo r fly ing around in outer space.

    No VOTOMS collection can be considered com ple te w ithou t one o f the more bizarre Takara offerings, the C horo-Q Scopedog. Like the C horo-Q Dougram tha t

    came before it, th is 3 " Scopedog was rendered in the classic "super defo rm ed"

    style. It transform ed into a small, dragster-like version o f the mecha, which

    doub led as a pull-pack racer.

    During the 1980s, some VOTOMS toys found the ir way into America. The b iggest

    d om estic source was Tw entie th C en tu ry Im ports , a Japanese m ode l wholesaler

    w ho had b ig plans fo r the VOTOMS TV show. A t one p o in t, TCI announced tha t they w ou ld be releasing a su b tit le d version o f the show d ire c t to hom e video.

    Perhaps to fo s te r in te res t in the series, they sold many o f the 1/60 toys at rock-

    b o ttom prices. Unfortunately, the subtitled videos never materialized, and it wasn't until the 1990s tha t Central Park Media released VOTOMS on video in America.

    In Japan, VOTOMS' life extended far past the original TV series. In fact, three direct- to -v ide o movies, a tw elve pa rt sp in -o ff series called A rm ored Hunter M erowlink,

    and a five-part conclusion to the saga were released over the next ten years. As the 1990s drew to a close and mecha nostalgia entered full swing, Takara began reviving

    the p rop e rty w ith reissues o f the toys and new video games fo r the Playstation.

    Two o f the th ree toy lines, the 1/35 Jo in t M odels and 1/24 Dual Models, were

    re-released in slick new packaging. These pieces remained largely unchanged,

    keeping the ir orig inal construction, accessories, and features. Clear and chromed reissues o f these toys were also churned o u t by the Takara factories, but weren't

    well received by collectors, who preferred norm ally-colored versions. Many o f

  • THE ROBOT IN THE MIRRORM any co lle c to rs w ho s ta rt d e lv in g in to VOTOM S d iscover

    th a t som e Red Shoulder Custom S copedog toys have the righ t

    shou lder pa in ted red, w hile o the rs have a red le f t shoulder.

    W hich version is correct? The answer is actua lly " both."

    In the w orld o f VOTOMS, the Red Shoulder Squad is the e lite corps

    o f the G ilgam eth army, the bad d e s t o f th e bad. They p a in t the

    right shoulder o f the ir A rm ored Troopers red to s ignify the b loody

    missions they're sent on.

    O ur protagonist, Chirico Cuvie, is an ex-Red Shoulder. In the inital

    episodes o f the TV series he's try ing to lay low in a tow n called

    Uoodo. He hooks up w ith a g rou p o f scavengers w ho fin d o u t

    a bo u t his p ilo tin g background and push him in to B a ttling,

    an arena sp o rt w here VOTOMS fig h t each o the r fo r b ig bucks.

    W hile p reparing fo r one b a ttle . Vanilla, one o f the scavengers, pa in ts the le ft shoulder o f Chirico's Scopedog red, com m enting

    that it w ill freak o u t his opponents. Chirico nonchalantly notes tha t they actually pain t the r ig h t shou lder red. This shocks the g roup ,

    and they s ta rt to realize th a t there's a lo t m ore to Chirico than

    they assumed.

    So technically, r igh t is co rrec t and le ft is w rong; b u t they 're both

    shown in the anime. If th e toy represents a tru e Red Shoulder,

    the r igh t shou lder needs to be red. However, if the to y d ep ic ts

    the one th a t Vanilla was dressing to impress, the toym akers need

    to make the same mistake he d id and pain t the le ft shou lder red!

    these were overproduced by Takara, and found th e ir way into America through

    D iam ond Com ic D istributors.

    Two v ideo gam es fo r the P laystation were released in special co lle c to r e d itions

    th a t inc luded the 1/24 S copedog and Red S houlder toys in new o live and gray

    co lo r schemes. A th ird v ideo gam e was also released w ith som eth ing special: a new Dual M ode l toy, the Slashdog. The toy was based on a design from the video

    gam e tha t was specialized fo r arena com bat. Roughly tw o-th irds o f the Slashdog's

    parts came from the existing 1/24 Scopedog m old, bu t new boosters for the legs,

    a h igh-tech visor, a claw arm a ttachm ent, and a new rifle were sculpted fo r it. To to p it all o ff, the toy was cast in a menacing crimson co lor scheme.

    As a result o f the various reissues tha t Takara has done over the years, anyone w ho wants a VOTOMS Dual M ode l o r Jo in t M ode l toy can find one easily and

    fo r a reasonable price. C o llec to rs w ho hunt only v in tage pieces have noted tha t

    even the hardest p iece to find , the Dual M ode l B ru tishdog, is reasonably priced

    com pared to o the r 1980s mecha toys like those from M across and Gundam .

    In recent years, Takara has helped keep VOTOMS alive by licensing the p rope rty

    to a new genera tion o f toym akers. Toy com pany Yamato released a 1/12 scale S copedog to y th a t stands approx im ate ly 12" ta ll. The to y features nearly every feature o f the Scopedog from the show, including a spring loaded "arm or punch,"

    and "ro ller dash" wheels and "tu rn p ick" mechanisms in the feet. Yamato has also

    Top righ t: Look close ly a t the last line

    o f copy on the s ide o f the 1/60 scale

    Takara boxes. This bizarre take on the

    VOTOMS acronym actua lly has no th ing

    to d o w ith the anim e; it's som eth ing

    o f a com ica l m ystery to VOTOMS fans

    and g ra ffit i artists alike.

    Be low righ t: B eho ld a ll seven o f the

    1/60 scale VOTOMS d ie -cast toys.

    Below: The supe r-de fo rm ed C horo-Q

    S copedog transform s in to a so rt o f

    m in i-pu llback racing car.

    A R M O R E D T J



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    been releasing m ultip le op tion packs tha t include the various hand weapons and

    backpacks fo r the 'dog.

    Takara has also been hard at work on the ir own new toys. A line o f 1/48 scale "Actic

    Gear" (a brand name derived from the w ords "active" and "artis tic") is currently in

    full swing, and the small size o f the robots is m aking it possib le fo r Takara to o ffer

    vehicles such as the AT Fly transport chopper. Takara has also revived the Dual

    Models, appending "Zwei" (German fo r " tw o ") to the moniker. The firs t release

    was a painted and weathered 1/18 scale Scopedog tha t came w ith a Microman Chirico figure, and additional figures are expected to be announced.

    VOTOMS, considered by many to be the high water mark fo r mecha shows, gave us some of the best realistically-styled robot toys ever made. The legacy o f Takara's

    unforgettab le toys lives on to this day, and looks like it will extend into the fu ture

    fo r some tim e to come.

    CHECKLIST: ORIGINAL 1/60 A T C o llection series, No. 1 M id-09-ST Scopedog, No. 2 M id-09-GC Brutishdog, No. 3 Heavy-04 -ST Standing Tortoise, No. 4 M id-

    09-WR Marshydog, No. 5 Heavy-14 -WPC Snapping Turtle, No. 6 Heavy-06-WP Diving Beetle, No. 7 Heavy-Q-64 Berserga

    1/35 Jo in t M o de l series, No. 1 ATM-09-ST Full W eapons Scopedog Red

    Shoulder, No. 2 ATH-14-SAC Space Assault Snapping Turtle Mark 2

    1/24 Dual M ode l series, No. 1 ATM-09-ST Scopedog, No. 2 ATM-09-GC Brutishdog, No.

    3 ATM-09-RSC Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog, Choro-Q series, Choro-Q Scopedog

    REISSUES: 1/35 J o in t M o de l series, No. 1 - ATM-09-ST Full W eapons Scopedog

    Red Shoulder, No. 2 - ATH-14-SAC Space Assault Snapping Turtle Mark 2 (Both were

    also issued in translucent versions.)

    1/24 D ual M o de l series (first reissues, late 1990s), No. 1 ATM -09-ST S copedog,

    No. 2 ATM -09-GC Brutishdog, No. 3 ATM-09-RSC Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog (All three were also issued in both translucent and chrom e versions.)

    1/24 D ual M o de l series (second reissues, 2005), RDM-1 ATM -09-GC Brutishdog,

    RDM-2 ATM-09-SA Scopedog fo r Perfect Soldier (included Round M over and new weapons), RDM-3 ATM-09-RSC Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog

    Special Ed ition VOTOMS Playstation Games, Blue Knight (included Dual Model ATM-09-ST Scopedog reissue in olive/grey) Uoodo/Kum m en (included Dual Model ATM-09-RSC Red Shoulder Custom Scopedog reissue in olive/grey)

    L ightning Slash (included Dual M odel ATM-09-GSC Slashdog)

    C horo-Q series, C horo-Q Scopedog (sold as pa rt o f a 4-pack w ith Dougram,

    Giant Gorg, and Galient) (This was also issued as a transluent version.)

  • THE FIRE & THE FURYTHE CLASSIC MONSTER TOYS OF RODANBy Chad H ens ley /Pho tography by Tim Brisko/Toys from the col lect ion of Mike Johnson

    The eponym ous m onster in Toho's1956 film Rodan is a titan ic p terodactyl that's

    endured the test o f tim e both figurative ly and literally. Though being prehistoric

    and 160 fe e t ta ll adds to th is kaiju's surface appeal fo r w ide-eyed ch ildren, the true key to Rodan's lasting popularity is his on-screen camaraderie w ith the King

    o f Monsters, Godzilla. Though Rodan technically dies in his deb u t film (burned to a crisp in an erupting volcano) the character later appeared in the 1964 film Ghidorah:

    The Three-Headed Monster to team up w ith Godzilla in an out-and-out war against

    Ghidora. Over the next 40 years, Rodan makes five more appearances in Godzilla films, each tim e jo in ing forces w ith the lizard lord to to p p le an adversary. In tw o o f these movies, Rodan even g o t com ple te makeovers. First, in 1993's Godzilla

    vs. Mechagodzilla the reptile is transformed into a spiny, v io le t-co lo red creature

    called Fire Rodan.Then in the 2004 film Godzilla: Final Wars, a m odern ized, m uscle-bound interpretation o f the w inged monster manifested. Naturally, due

    to the character's enduring grasp on audiences' hearts, toy com panies have

    pum ped ou t a veritable flock o f Rodan vinyl toys over the years.

    Bullmark released the first Rodan toy in 1970 in the form o f a 9-inch standard sized

    vinyl and smaller pink mini-sized vinyl, but it wasn't until a decade later that another vinyl incarnation o f the m onster appeared. In 1978, Popy debu ted th e ir 6-inch Rodan as part o f the ir King Zaurus series in which each vinyl figure tou ted unique

    im prin ted foo tprin ts . Then, the very next year in America, Matte l pu t o u t a large

    plastic version o f Rodan in a one-shot series called W orld's Greatest Monsters.

    The W GM figure is especially noteworthy because it is in the same scale as another

    M attel toy line from the same tim e periodThe Shogun Warriors. It has a wingspan o f 38',' massive m ovable claws, and a lever on the toy's neck tha t contro ls the

    figure's beak-like m outh. However, unlike the toys in the Shogun Warriors line,

    all o f which are based on toys previously released by Popy in Japan, the World's

    Greatest Monsters Rodan has no Japanese counterpart.

    It w ou ld be nearly th irteen years before another Rodan terrorized toy store shelves. In 1992, Bandai finally showed the fire bird some love by releasing an 8 " brown Rodan as part o f the ir expanding Godzilla series. The next year, this figure

    was reissued w ith a slightly d iffe rent pain t scheme in Bandai's Godzilla Memorial

    Box figure co llection. Also in 1993, Bandai d ropped a new 8 " Fire Rodan in violet- colored vinyl. Consequently, the company d id tw o more versions o f Fire Rodan;

    one as part o f the 1996 Godzilla Forever series and the o ther in the ir Godzilla

    Island/Toho Kaiju series. The Godzilla Forever Fire Rodan is cast from the same m old as the standard release, w ith a more detailed pain t job on the veins in the monster's wings. The Toho Kaiju Fire Rodan is m olded in a smaller 6-inch scale,

    O p p o s ite page: Red Popy Rodan


    3 8 v' 13

    Top (le ft to righ t): M a rm it Rodan

    from m in i-figure set and M arm it

    m ini SD figures.

    Right: Bandai rep roduction next

    to tw o o rig ina l Bullm ark vinyls.

    B o ttom (le ft to right):O rig ina l Bullm ark m ini vinyls,

    M1 Bullm ark reproductions

    and Popy figure variations.

    and is very d ifferent from the tw o larger versions, boasting a b righ t red body

    and a white beak.

    Also during the '90s, a few Japanese toy com panies offered a few off-k ilte r Rodan

    toys. These odd ities included a m iniature super-deform ed, disk-firing Rodan that came on a b lister card made by Tomy, and a blocky, super-deform ed Rodan that

    could be transform ed in to a pterodacty l egg produced byTakara. In the last few

    years, bo th M1 and M arm it have con tribu ted to the grow ing roost o f Rodan toys. M arm it churned ou t a chunky 10-inch vinyl o f Rodan as part o f the ir Vinyl Paradise

    line in three d ifferent co lor ways. M arm it also made a nice super-deform ed, tw o-

    inch Rodan articulated at the neck to be given away as a prize at Japanese toy shows. One o f the coolest pieces, however, Marmit's Para-baby Rodan vinyl, is

    much more deta iled than the Vinyl Paradise version and came with a m ini vinyl

    o f the m onster in fly ing pose; a second Para-baby Rodan was soon released accom panied by a m inia ture fly ing saucer! Both Para-babies were produced in

    d iffe rent co lor ways; there was a com m on green vinyl version, a show exclusive,

    unpa inted beige , and an unpa in ted smoke w hite vinyl. More recently, M1

    p roduced a 9-inch standard-size Rodan figure based on the orig ina l Bullmark m old in flesh vinyl w ith brown spray as an event exclusive. O the r co lo r variants

    o f this toy include a m etallic green spray on brown vinyl event exclusive, and a g low -in -the-dark version. A couple o f M1 3-inch m ini-sized reproduction vinyls

    have also been released in yellow and brown.

    N o t to be outdone, Marusan and Bearmodel have created the ir own versions of

    the g iant p terodactyl. Marusan's 8-inch Rodan vinyls come in both standing and fly ing forms. The Bearmodel m iddle-sized Rodan is available in yellow, brown,

    and unpainted, translucent red vinyl.

    So there you have it: a com plete report on all o f the Rodan toys that you could ever want. Now get out there and start hunting down the pieces that appeal to you most!

  • Top row (Left to righ t): O rig ina l large

    scale Bandai Rodan figures, M a tte l

    Jum bo sized fly ing figure in box.

    Second row: O rig ina l large scale

    Bandai Fire Rodan figures, Smaller

    scale Bandai Fire Rodan tag and spray

    variations, Sm aller scale Bandai Rodan

    and Final Wars variations.

    Third row: B arem odel figures, M arm it vinyl Paradise figures, M arm it Para-

    b aby figures w ith UFO, M arm it Para-

    baby w ith m ini fly ing figures.

    B o ttom row: M arm it m ini fly ing figures,

    M arm it Final Wars Rodan, Marusan

    S tanding Rodan, Marusan Flying

    Rodan, YMSF figures.

    M i M

    CHECKLISTRodan: Bullmark 9 " S tandard-flesh vinyl lig h t b lue pa in t o r dark b lue pa in t, Bullm ark 9 " Bandai 1991 Blue vinyl re p ro d u c tion , Bullm ark 9 " M1 reproduction -flesh

    vinyl w ith green, b lue vinyl w ith red, flesh vinyl w ith brown o r g lo w vinyl w ith p ink and yellow , Bullmark m in i-p ink vinyl w ith dark red spray, p ink vinyl w ith ligh t red

    spray, p ink vinyl w ith go ld beak, Bullmark m ini M1 reproduction -b row n vinyl o r yellow vinyl, Popy-white eyes, go ld eyes w ith grey spray or go ld eyes w ith silver spray,

    M atte l-US jum b o scale figure , Tom y-m ini SD fir ing figure , Takara-w ind-up SD egg, Bandai large scale figure-1992 brow n vinyl w ith g o ld spray o r 1993 M em oriao Box brown vinyl w ith silver spray, Bandai-small fly ing figure from 1992 Godzilla vs M othra box set, Bandai sm aller scale figure -b row n vinyl, Marusan Flying Rodan-

    brown vinyl, Marusan Standing Rodan-brown vinyl, Barem odel m idd le size Rodan-yellow vinyl, brown vinyl o r translucent red unpainted vinyl, M arm it Vinyl Paradise-

    yellow vinyl w ith green and red, translucent b lue unpa inted vinyl o r brown vinyl w ith go ld , M arm it Para-baby w ith m ini fly ing figure-flesh unpainted vinyl w ith white m ini, redd ish -brow n vinyl, w hite unpa in ted vinyl w ith flesh m ini, green vinyl w ith b lue pa in t, o r b lue vinyl w ith ye llow pa in t,M a rm it Para-baby w ith m ini UFO-red vinyl, flesh unpa inted vinyl, o r orange vinyl, M arm it m ini SD figure -g reen vinyl w ith red, p ink vinyl w ith red, b lack transucent unpa inted vinyl, silver unpainted vinyl,

    b lack unpa in ted vinyl, trans lucen t grey unpa in ted vinyl, brow n unpa in ted vinyl, aqua unpa in ted vinyl, b lue unpa in ted vinyl, ye llow unpa in ted vinyl, translucent

    b lue unpa inted vinyl, M arm it M ini set fig u re -b ro w n vinyl. Fire Rodan: Bandai 8 " large version-1993 pu rp le and tan o r 1996 Forever series w ith veins on wings, Bandai 6" sm aller vers ion-firs t pa in t w ith G odzilla Island tag, firs t pa in t w ith Toho Kaiju series tag , darker red pa in t w ith M ovie M onsters ta g o r dark brown vinyl from 50th anniversary M em oria l box. Final W ars Rodan: Bandai red vinyl norm al version o r brow n vinyl thea te r version, M arm it Brown vinyl w ith b lue spray.


    And then, everything changed. W hile that may sound melodramatic, it strikes fairly

    close to the truth. In the same way that Kenner changed the scale o f action figures

    forever with its d im inutive 3.75" Star Wars line in 1977, Cocobat bassist Take-shit helpled kick o ff an underground designer m ovem ent when he released his Fink-Shit

    figure in 1999. Born on the same date as the influential Bounty Hunter Kid Hunter

    vinyl, (For politics sake, both parties say the ir figures were released at the same time), the Fink-Shit stayed in the background o f Japanese to y fandom fo r years

    before it's true influence would begin to show.

    The Fink-Shit was an evolution o f a previous toy tha t Take-shit helped create the Posi-traction Tin Car made w ith Oka Narue at Zaap. Using the Fink head mold

    created by Take-shit's friend Hasabe fo r the Posi-traction Tin Car, Oka and Take-shit later decided to make a figh ting style body to match the head as a visual nod to

    Take-shit's semi-professional shoot-figh ting career. Enlisting the aid o f scu lp tor

    Cosmo Liquid, and produced at the local Hirota Studios factory, the Fink-Shit was the first o f what would become a legacy o f figh t figures. To appreciate the toy better,

    it is important to note that everything about the Fink-Shit has layered meaning for its

    creators. The head is inspired by the classic Rat Fink character while incorporating the same glasses that Take-shit actually used to wear. The body is sculpted in specific

    reference to Take-shit's fighting style complete with gloves and outfits similar to those worn by Take-shit in the ring. Orig inally released in green or red vinyl and painted

    white and black with go ld accents, the figures came in a small nylon fru it bag, and

    were available at Cocobat concerts. Later, a second run o f figures cast in translucent

    gray vinyl were released, in additon to a t-shirt that simply read "fightoy."

    It was no t until three years later, in 2002, tha t the influence o f the Fink-Shit figure

    w ould begin to manifest when Hideaki Kinoshita (who worked w ith Oka at Zaap)

    started his shop, Secret Base. M ore com m only known as "H iddy," Hideaki approached both Take-shit and Oka abou t making a figure fo r his new shop that

    could fig h t against the classic Fink-Shit figure. Using the same sculptor, Cosmo

    Liquid, Secret Base's first figure was made the Skull Bee. Soon thereafter, H iddy w ould produce the apprentice to the Skull Bee, the Skull Brain, this tim e using the sculptor Kiyoka Ikeda. As the popu larity o f Secret Base and the fig h t figures

    began to grow, new variations were designed includ ing a m um m y-wrapped

    Dam aged Brain, a H allow een-them ed Pumpkin Brain and Obake (Ghost), as

    well as a collaborative figure w ith the Japanese punk band Balzac dep icting the ir Paperbagman mascot character.

    In late 2003, Hiroaki Okada o f Gargamel approached H iddy about manufacturing a new fig h t figure called Gargamess fo r the ir shop. Asking both Oka and Take-shit

    fo r the ir approval, the ir first collaborative figure, half Gargamess, half Skull Brain was released as a premium mail-in offer in Warp magazine. A fter this, the first three


    4 2 K,3

    Right: The only three co lo r ways o f the

    invariably in fluen tia l Fink-Shit figure.

    Below (Inside box m oving clockw ise

    from to p left): A sam pling o f f ig h t

    figures d ire c tly insp ired by the

    Fink-shit: First up, a g rou p shot o f

    today's h o tte s t fig h t brand, Secret Base. Next, the G argam el gang w ill

    wrestle you down. In the u p p e r r igh t

    corner, we have the excellent alien

    pug ilis ts m ade by Real Head.

    Gargamess releases were made as collaborative figures between Secret Base and

    Gargamel; unfortunately, Kiyoka left Secret Base to work with Gargamel, and the

    relationship sadly soured. Kiyoka's last figure sculpted fo r Secret Base was the Pushead

    designed Skull W ing, although it wasn't released until early 2005. Gargamel soon

    began making th e ir own custom fig h t figures, introducing the Bullmark homage

    Bullmask and the Street F ighter v ideo gam e-inspired Pinwheel. Later releases include the kaiju inspired-Gappa, the cone headed Cumberlain, the wolfman-esque

    W heelbarrow, the collaborative Gargadeath (with Napalm Death bassist Shane

    Embry) and a single figure-sized figh ting ring tha t doub led as a coin bank.

    A nd the list o f peop le inspired by th e Fink-Shit and Secret Base goes on. In 2004

    Real Head founder M ori-kun began his own fig h t figure company. Based on his

    own styles and interests, the first releases were the M utant Evil, the M utant Head

    and a caricatured self-portra it o f M ori, the Oni-Head. W orking in relative obscurity

    fo r much o f 2004 and 2005, Real Head continued making figures and variations in

    small runs, introducing M utant Bigaro and M utant Chaos in the fall o f 2005. The

    fou r M utant figures represent the heroes o f Mori-kun's w orld, and 2006 saw the

    release o f the first o f the four villains, the Kaiser.

    It was also in 2005 tha t fig h t figures exploded in both the Japanese and American

    consciousness in a larger context. This began w ith the release o f the aforementioned

    Secret Base and Pushead collaborative Skull W ing and continued w ith San Diego

    Comic-Con release o f the Ghostfighter (designed by Brian Flynn o f Super7). Multiple

    Secret Base figures were released in collaboration with Japanese retailer Atmos and

    the Japanese fashion brand Devilock. Even more recently, several new companies

    began designing the ir own fig h t figures as accessories to the grow ing army o f toys

    in this style. Sin + W om bat developed the Chicken Fever alien, Blobpus and Cronic

    both debuted the ir self-titled figures, and a new company named Rumble Monsters

    developed two slightly larger figh t figures, the Damnedron (a cross between Hedorah

    the Smog M onster and the Creature from the Black Lagoon) and the Pharos which

    was developed with the help o f artist Rockin' Jellybean.

    Many new figh t figures are on the way in 2006 including artist Pushead's Skull Pirate

    (for Secret Base) and Brian Flynn's Frankenghost (Secret Base x Super7). It's amazing

    to th ink that all o f this was spawned from the innocent fan-made beginnings o f the

    Fink-Shit seven years ago. Only time will tell how far the figh t phenomenon will go,

    but with over 300 variations so far, it seems the battle has just begun.

    Decorating the b o ttom left, the Warp m agazine G argam el x Secret Base

    Skullbrain is cast in g lo w vinyl w ith a clear brain. To the righ t, the B lobpus

    m onste r is fo llo w e d by Chicken Fever,

    and C ronic's M averasu and Zyurai Asu figures. Next, check o u t these

    amazing Pharos and D am nedron

    figures by Rumble Monsters. A n d finally, th is is the o rig ina l sh irt tha t

    Take-shit m ade back in 1999 to

    co inc ide w ith his Fink-Shit figures. Let's here it fo r the cham p!

  • i i S N G F A M , L v ^ .

    7 lZ~ ^Hasabe /Hirota Studios

    Sk u l l B r a in

    ( F u s io n W r e s t l e rHiddy / Hiroaki / Kiyoka

    Sk u l l D a m a g e Sk u l l P u m p k i n